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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  March 17, 2011 4:00am-5:00am EDT

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that something you would oppose? >> at this stage in the development of this country, i will not support tinkering with social security. it is not an emergency. >> my interview earlier today with senate majority leader harry reid. later tonight, go to our blog to watch the entire unedited conversation with senator reid. "the rachel maddow show" is up next. good evening, rachel. >> good evening, lawrence, thank you for that. thanks to you at home for staying with us this hour. here is what happened at three mile island. one of the reactors at three mile old about half melted down because of human error and technical failures and some bad design. the cooling system at three mile island failed and the water levels inside that reactor fell. that meant that the super hot and radioactive fuel rods inside the reactor were no longer being cooled by water covering them up. and so they started to melt. fuel rods are long, skinny metal tubes with pellets of uranium in them. they are hot. they are also radio actively hot, too.
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once those things at three mile island were not being cooled by water, once they heated to a couple thousand degrees fahrenheit, the metal tubes holding the pellets started to breakdown. when the temperature got even hotter, the uranium fuel itself started to meltdown. melting fuel rods like that can release a ton of radioactivity. they are radioactive, that is on purpose. that's how they make nuclear power. when they breakdown, they release it into the atmosphere. they also release hydrogen gas. hydrogen is not radioactive, but it can be explosive. that's the bad combination, right? seeing radioactive stuff and something that explodes. and those two things are being emitted at the same time together. at three mile island, faced with that problem, authorities did release into the air some of that radioactivity that was being emitted from the damaged fuel rods. they did that in order to relieve pressure so the reactor
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wouldn't explode. they also at one point had a huge hydrogen bubble they were worried could blow up. risk of explosion is that all the radioactivity being mixed up because of the hot fuel rods would be sent into the skies over middleton, pennsylvania. they were worried it would blow up, but it did not blow up and cause explosion and the containment vessel held, and the only big release of radiation in the three mile island accident was what they released on purpose when they felt they had to do it to relieve pressure to prevent an explosion. that's what happened at three mile island. no deaths and no injuries to anyone that worked at the plant. there was some exposure to radioactivity by people that lived in the vicinity of the plant. for years, local residents beg to differ. that's the three mile island situation. that's the worst problem we had in the united states, happened
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in 1979. it was not until 1990 they finished getting the radioactive fuel out of three mile island. it took 11 years.{ rubble from the three mile island meltdown is sitting in radiation containment in idaho right now. that's three mile island. now chernobyl. at chernobyl, there was no containment building at all around the reactor that blew up. what seems to have been a poorly designed experiment or test resulted in a big surge of power and the reactor exploded. it exploded and it burned. roughly 180 tons of radioactive fuel in that reactor at chernobyl that blew up sent radioactive cesium, iodine and lots else into the air. about 50 people on site were killed by radiation relatively quickly.
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hundreds of thousands were evacuated. more than 200,000 people were permanently moved. a 19 mile radius around the plant is still called the zone of alienation. not considered fit for human habitation. hundreds of square miles of eastern europe were hit by radioactive fallout from chernobyl, and health consequences were significant, particularly in terms of thyroid cancer. rates of thyroid cancer 50 to 100 times higher than before the disaster in yu rain and bell a rus. one of our guests will be a best selling author now with the council on foreign relations. she wrote for the council on foreign relations that incidence of adult and pediatric thyroid cancer in the region around chernobyl is today more than 500 times what it was before that disaster. higher than anything else ever seen on earth. these things take time, but ultimately thousands of cancer deaths that would not have otherwise taken place will be blamed on the radioactive fallout from the chernobyl disaster. that's what we're talking about
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here. tend to think of three mile island and chernobyl almost as metaphors, as big, bad ideas, but they are specific things. and wh) you heard people saying what's happening in japan so far is worse than three mile island, but not as bad as chernobyl, well, okay. it is good to understand that, but it is also good to understand that there's a lot of room between the consequences of three mile island and chernobyl. not just the magnitude and type of accidents themselves, but the consequences of those accidents. how much radioactivity was released, and what it did to people. the on-going crisis in japan is about trying to minimize the amount of radiation that's going to be released from the reactors at daiichi. understanding the difference between this disaster and previous nuclear disasters is empirical. it is understandable even if you're not a physicist. i certainly am not. we have six reactors in japan together at daiichi. three of them, numbers one, two,
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and three were on, were producing power when the earthquake hit. they automatically shut down, now it has been a matter of keeping enough water flowing into the cooling systems of the reactors to keep the hot radioactive fuel rods covered up so they don't melt any more than they already have, in all of those reactors though. not just fuel rods in the reactors themselves, there are also just pools that contain other somewhat hot, somewhat radioactive fuel rods. so in each of the six reactors at daiichi, as far as we understand it, there is a reactor, but there is also a spent fuel pool. spent fuel that's already done its six years or whatever in the nuclear reactor. now it is spent enough that it is no longer efficient enough to use in the reactor. but the fuel rods in spent fuel pools are still hot and need active cooling systems to keep them covered in water so they don't start to breakdown and
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meltdown. in one through six, there is a reactor and spent fuel pool. there have been hydrogen explosions already at reactors one, two, and three. all three were reactors working when the quake hit. even if you know nothing about this, you can see by looking at the photos that we have of them that the containment buildings -- look at this. the containment buildings supposed to keep these sealed tighter than the tightest drum you can imagine, containment buildings are busted open by what already happened. these are one, two, and three. but it is number four that is really worth understanding today. it appears to be number four. look. it appears to be number four that drove the u.s. government to dramatically break with the japanese government today, to start giving its own american assessment of what is going on at this reactor and these reactors instead of repeating what the japanese were saying. it is number four, or at least
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it appears to be the number four reactor that led the u.s. government to say that u.s. citizens should evacuate from an area around the reactor that is larger than what the japanese government has suggested. here is what's going on at reactor four. reactor four reportedly contains 130 tons of spent fuel. there's a reactor there. that was off when the quake happened. but it is still there. there's the reactor there, that was off. that's presumably cool shut down. then the spent fuel pool. 130 tons of spent fuel in that pool. for reference, that's about 28% less fuel than what blew up at chernobyl. the u.s. nuclear regulatory commission reportedly has its own experts on site at daiichi. even though japan is not saying this, american nuclear authorities, our nuclear regulatory authority today said that the pool that the 130 tons of fuel are sitting in, that pool is dry. empty. which means those fuel rods are fully exposed. if that's true, the fuel rods will melt. they may catch fire. there may be an explosion, not a nuclear explosion but explosion
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that could{ put the radioactivity in that fuel into the air. again, we think it is 130 tons of fuel there. for reference, it was 180 tons of fuel at chernobyl. look again at the picture of reactor four. it still does have sort of a roof, but not much else. so whatever is happening to the fuel rods there, there's really no containment of that really at all. it is going out into the air. there's also reportedly a concern about the spent fuel pool at reactor three, which is right next to number four. we do not know how much fuel is in that spent fuel pool. but the nuclear regulatory commission today said they fear that the pool holding the spent fuel at reactor three may be cracked. and that, if true, would pose a real challenge for trying to keep fuel rods there covered in water. if they're in a pool that's cracked, how do you fill the pool. even if they can use a fire hose, it may be hard to cover them up. this video just started to air
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on nhk in the last few minutes. it shows what we think are helicopters dropping liquid over what appears to be reactors three and four. as at chernobyl, it is workers on site incurring the most risk, putting their lives at immediate risk given the high levels of radiation on site. here is the thing that's becoming clear about sort of the end game here, or at least the end game of these efforts, and it is a rather dire but logical calculation. what these workers are doing in trying to use fire hoses or in trying to use helicopters dropping liquid, or in trying to reestablish power to conventional pumping systems, trying to vent pressure from the reactors as they are cooled, what the workers are doing ultimately now is trying to stop emissions of radiation at daiichi, right? as the situation gets more dire,
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what they're trying to do is frankly stop so much radiation from being emitted there that it kills the workers there. they need to control the radiation enough that it stays possible for humans to keep working there. forget safe. i mean possible. these are large problems that require heroic human attention. they will not get better on their own. what is being done there now must be effective enough to keep the plant safe enough so that humans can continue to work there. we have expert opinion next on whether that is happening. whew! i need a break from programming
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this information i'm about to show you has been reported by japan's nhk news but has not widely been reported in the united states, so we wanted to get it on record here. this roughly is what's at stake in the daiichi nuclear plant crisis. for reference, the amount of nuclear fuel in the reactor that blew up in chernobyl was roughly 180 tons.
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you can see these tags have individual numbers on them. this is what we believe is the amount of nuclear fuel in each of the reactors at daiichi, okay? reactors one, two and three were on when the earthquake struck, as you know, they've been shut down. there's been difficulty keeping them cooled since the quake. each of those reactors has some damage. together in one, two, and three, there are 210 tons of fuel in the course of the three reactors. this is the amount of fuel we believe to be in the spent fuel pools inside each of the reactors, okay? unit four is the one that the nuclear regulatory commission said might be totally dry with rods totally exposed. if that's true, that's 130 tons of nuclear fuel we are talking about. the other pool considered to be also potentially in danger is in reactor three. that's another 90 tons of fuel. units five and six where the temperatures of the water in pools is reported to be rising, those have even larger amounts of fuel, and the largest amount of fuel is in a common spent fuel pool outside any of the individual six reactors.
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as spent fuel gets older, it gets less hot and less radioactive. to the extent that those spent fuel pools are at risk of losing cooling system and fuel rods are at{ risk to being exposed to the air and being danld, you hope those rods are older with less radioactivity to give off. again, these official from nhk news in japan. we were in communication today with nuclear experts in the u.s. who are in communication with nuclear experts in japan. they said these were essentially the reportable known numbers for what is at stake in daiichi. bottom line, there is a lot of radioactive material at stake here. we will be right back >
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>> this is not a site designed to inspire confidence. fire fighting helicopters preparing to drop water onto overheating nuclear reactors. it is a mission that every other effort has failed, soon this act{ of desperation was to fail, too, there was too much radiation for the pilots to fly safely. the fukushima complex can only be seen now through mist and rising smoke, fitting perhaps given the fog of confusion and misinformation coming from the japanese government. this is the scene today in tokyo on streets normally teaming with people during a working day. since radiation levels here were upgraded to elevated, millions have been staying indoors or heading to the airport in hope of an available flight. a deeply worried nation now voting with its feet. >> just in the last hour, we
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have had new images of fire fighting helicopters making another pass at it and actually dropping liquid on what appears to be reactors three and four at the stricken daiichi nuclear plant. we have had word from nhk news in japan that those are chinook helicopters specially outfitted to try to protect the crews from radiation they would be exposed to. ed lyman, thanks for coming on the show. >> thanks for having me. >> when you see those images of the helicopters dropping liquid from the sky onto reactors three and four, where we think there may be spent fuel rods in pools having cooling trouble, how does that make you feel about the overall response here?
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>> well, i think that they are trying everything they can possibly do, and it's appropriate. they need to try every possible measure. but the fact that the radiation levels are prohibitive for carrying out the measures is disturbing. i wonder how long it can be sustained. >> the u.s. government today gave a more dire technical assessment of what's going on in japan than we've been hearing from the japanese government. the u.s. then changed advice to u.s. citizens,{ advising americans to evacuate further from the reactor area than japan had been advising. do you know why that shift happened? >> well, the nrc apparently published some calculations on its website that shows that there would still be significant doses 50 miles away from the site if all four reactors meltdown. this is really no surprise.
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anyone familiar with these types of assessments knows that 50 miles is not safe distance to be in an emergency like that. so i think finally the nrc is trying to come to grips with the fact that there is a real danger much further away than the ten mile emergency planning zones that it licenses here in the united states. >> so reactor facing similar crisis in the united states, evacuation zone would be default ten miles? >> that's right. >> in reactor four what the nrc said in testimony, all the water in number four reactor fuel pool is gone. if that's happened, if those fuel rods are in a dry pool, what happens to them? what happens there? >> i would like to caution, there's some dispute over whether that's true. but just assuming it is, if the spent fuel is completely dry, then heat transfer is significantly reduced and heatup of the fuel would accelerate. this would cause fuel rods to
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expand, eventually to rupture, and first to release the gas that's already accumulated within spent fuel, and then as the uranium pellets in the fuel continue to heat up, more and more radioactive material will be squeezed out of the pellets, mostly in the form of cesium 137, which would be a gas at those temperatures. so if the fuel pool has gone dry, that would be a very hard condition to reverse. >> is there at that point a risk of explosion and do either of those matter at that point? >> well, there would be presumably a fire, because the metal around the fuel rods, which is zirconium will burn once it reaches a certain ignition temperature. so there could be a zirconium fed fire that would only serve to increase heat up of the rods and accelerate radioactive release. this wouldn't typically result in an explosion of the fuel, but the reaction with zirconium does
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produce hydrogen which could lead to hydrogen explosion if it got concentrated. since these are now well ventilated spaces, since the roof and walls have blown off, probably hydrogen explosions aren't much concern at this point. >> well ventilated is a happy way to say it. >> i'm sorry. >> no, it's true. i mean, to be clear, there's essentially no effective containment of any kind around these spent fuel pools in reactors three and four, right? >> well, the sad truth is even if the walls and ceiling were still in place, that still wouldn't be effective containment. it might have provided some delay, but now, of course, there's nothing. radioactive material emitted from the fuel will go right into the atmosphere. >> the radiation levels have gotten so high that as you noted, there is a question of whether or not they can safely man these efforts to try to get
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water onto these fuel rods or reactor cores. have the radiation levels gotten so high we should expect to see them working in shifts or rotating every few minutes? could any of the cooling be automated? can all of it be automated or are we at the point the instrument taigs is no good and we have to do it manually. >> i hear they are trying to restore off site power to{ the pumps that ordinarily cool the reactors. if that were the case, they might be able to pull back to some extent. i think that would be a very positive sign. but i am not sure if it will work or not. you know, i am not privy to the numbers. but the fact that the japanese keep withdrawing personnel, putting them back, pulling them out again, obviously is indication that the environment near the reactors is extremely
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severe and i do worry very much for the health and safety of those workers. >> ed lyman, senior staff scientist. your expertise here is a real asset. thanks for testifying at congress today and thanks for joining us tonight. >> thank you. >> it is easier to be scared, it is easier to scare others when there is a situation like the one unfolding in japan. being scared and being smart, though, go together about as well as orange juice and toothpaste, which is why understanding this stuff is a better idea than freaking out about this stuff. and that is why the "new york daily news" newspaper was singularly unhelpful when they chose their banner front page for today's editions. that's coming up.
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as the snow began to fall, we began a drive that would bring us within miles of the reactors. by necessity, it is where the road goes. the radio is our constant companion. the news is rarely good, but the advice is. >> we are just outside the affected area, have been told to stop. as precaution, what we are supposed to do, turn off the vents and air conditioning as well, make sure windows are rolled up. we are not getting out of the car until well past the affected area. >> the cold temperatures, though, make it tough. >> still snowing outside. we can't have any vents on, we have to keep the windows clear
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of fogging up. especially for our driver. >> out the other side of the road rolls one reminder after another that japan is a nation with twin disasters. convoys of rescue vehicles race the opposite direction into the tsunami zone, unable to stay behind to help those trapped too close to reactors. >> that's lee cowen in japan. we have videos of helicopters specially equipped to protect from radiation. they were dropping liquid on the daiichi facility. they are saying the liquid was dropped just on reactor three,{ not on reactors three and four as they said earlier. they said there was going to be planned 40-minute long shifts for helicopter water air lifts. from what we can tell, they did not complete a full 40-minute shift today. we don't know why. helicopters have now pulled back. we have word they are bringing in water canons to try to keep
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this rather desperate cooling operation going. this is nuclear safety in extremist. joining us now, a pulitzer prize winning journalist. she's a best selling author of betrayal of trust, collapse of total public health. laurie, thanks for coming in. >> thank you. >> there is a human health catastrophe upon us in terms of the quake and tsunami. major health challenge from the reactors, potential escalation of that if things get worse there. how can a government do this well? are there models of good response to challenges this big? >> this one's huge. i don't know if you could really find a government that had to deal with so many things all at once. but clearly, we had examples where it doesn't done well, say katrina, for example, where the messaging was not clear. i think the government is
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watching this fine line between trying to get people to evacuate, taking problems seriously, follow government instructions. at the same time, not have people go into hysteria, thinking that every gul p of air they breathe is toxic, everything they eat will kill them, that the water is unsafe and so on. when you think of it in international terms, we have people in new york city running out and buying iodine tablets, which is completely absurd and is totally unwarranted. so we have a balancing act here on the home front. now, imagine{ you had a tsunami, an earthquake. you have the power plants, and by the way, bird flu in five different locations in the country. now, put that all together, try to figure out how to get rational instructions to the population so that they know what to do and they trust the government. and one of the things we see constantly coming through in all
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of the interviews that people do is this element of distrust, not sure who to believe, not sure if they're telling us everything, is the company telling the truth at daiichi. is the government telling the truth and so on. we would have the same problem here. it is a common, common problem. >> with the radiation issue specifically, and i want to ask you about this because we covered it so intently. we covered at the top of the show what really happened at three mile and chernobyl to make it more real and less abstract. do you think we have a concept of what nuclear disasters mean in terms of human impact or are they nebulous, scary, not the things that lead us towards rational responses? >> for the general public, it is nebulous and scary. for those on top of these situations and learned from each successive disaster, nuclear bomb test and other horrible things that have happened, we actually know quite a bit.
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we know the most vulnerable organ in terms of most of what's released, radioactive eye diens, you are especially vulnerable as a child. what we saw after chernobyl, the bulk of thyroid diseases, including cancer, were in people that were small children at the time they were exposed. >> the news today that the u.s. government in essence is recommending larger evacuation than the japanese government, they are giving out different, more dire technical{ information than the japanese government is, does that have indirect consequences in terms of managing panic, in terms of what counts as trustworthy authority? look at the way we show it. evacuation area, where to stay indoors, and where the u.s. says you should evacuate from. does that have big, broad consequences in terms of who people trust in terms of that information? >> absolutely. i think that the american government and the japanese
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government should be in synch. it is very scary if you're sitting in tokyo, you understand english, you're watching the american broadcasting, msnbc in your hotel, you may think wait a minute, why are the americans saying this and my own government is saying something quite different. it doesn't help matters. but we see it all the time. we saw it with the flu pandemic threat two years ago. we see it any time there is a big threat out there that potentially could cross borders, you get different advice from different governments. >> do you think there is a robust enough global health structure or that the japanese government health structures are strong enough if this really does end up being something where the fallout has consequences for hundreds of thousands? >> i think the japanese are in better shape than anybody. if you had to pick a country, ask what's the level of governance, how deep is the infrastructure for public health and medical infrastructure, you couldn't pick a better one than japan. for one thing, they don't have
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52 million uninsured citizens. >> laurie garrett, council on foreign relations, senior fellow, best selling author, pulitzer prize winner. it is really helpful to have you here. thank you. >> thank you. >> experts may disagree what should be done to mitigate the worst of this disaster, but what we all agree what we should not do not now, not ever, is panic. so could somebody please explain this? please? that's next
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here in new york city, one of the local papers, the "new york daily news," is reporting on the nuclear crisis in japan on the front page today like this. japan nuke disaster. panic. can you see that? here is a closer look. black background, giant white block letters, all caps, panic! here's the thing. there are many increasingly worrying developments coming out of japan every day, and while it can be fun to panic about the prospect of donald trump for president or the new design at this website. it can be fun to panic about
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some things, it is not good to panic about things that are legitimately scary. which is to say you, "new york daily news" and your scary headline, you are not helping. the terror inducing front page, scream! there has been something of a run on potassium iodine pills. that can be used to guard agai' a specific health hazard from a specific radiation exposure. it is not best described as our friends at the daily news chose to show it as an anti-nuke pill, not like an umbrella that protects you from fallout. pop this magic umbrella pill, it is not like that. what it can do is help the thyroid not absorb radioactive iodine. if you are exposed to iodine, taking that potassium iodine can prevent the thyroid from taking
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up the radioactive stuff because it will be plum full of the not radioactive kind. this sort of thing does not protect against other radio isotopes, just iodine. the primary manufacturer says it is out of stock because so many people want it because of the crisis in japan. the president said the spike is enormous, we were out of stock by friday night. we are not talking about from japan, where the problem is, most of it is from the west coast of the united states. public officials have been campaigning hard against the impulse against west coasters to respond to the crisis in japan by buying those pills. the l.a. county health department issued a warning against taking it. saying residents who ingest potassium eye died out of concern of possible exposure from the situation are doing something which is not only ineffective but could also cause
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side effects. they set up a hot line to answer questions about concerns about radiation. much to the state's dismay, as of yesterday when they answered the calls, many, many of the people calling were just calling to try to buy the pills. the health department spokesperson said it was very concerning to us,{ because you really should not take that without professional advice unless you are within the zone of the nuclear event. if you are not watching me from northern japan now, you are not within the zone of the nuclear event. when asked by the associated press about everyone on the american west coast trying to get their hands on those pills, director of radiation health physics at oregon state university said tell them stop, don't do it. according to ap, the government already stock piles the drug and offers enough for states to give doses to every american resident within ten miles of a nuclear plant. so "new york daily news" headline writers be darned.
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let's ditch the instruction to panic and let's talk to someone who can tell us what the real risks and what they are not. joining me now, david richardson. professor, nice to have you with us. >> thanks for having me. >> the white house reasonable degree of medical certainty u.s. citizens stay 50 miles away from the daiichi plant. the japanese government recommends 20 miles. would the levels be substantially different between those two distances? >> yes. exposure levels are going to be different. there's been a projection of what exposure levels are under different models. nrc is following projections for four reactor accident. that said, we don't have good information how the exposures are distributed. what's been released, where it is going.
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it is very unlikely that the exposures are traveling in con centric circles, but i think the judgment has been that yes, 50 mile radius is what's been advocated. >> in terms of what has been released thus fir in terms of radiation, obviously we had some radioactive releases from the plants. that's what we have seen in terms of different readings from different japanese cities about how much radiation they're detecting there. bigger worry is there could be an even larger release of radiation at some point in the future. based on what's happened so far, what might happen in the future, who will be facing the greatest risk as a result of radioactive fallout? is it mostly defined by where you are geographically or mostly designed by who you are? >> that's a great question. right now, the people facing the greatest risk are obviously the workers. if you move beyond that to
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consider people not at risk of being primarily externally exposed to radiation from working in high radiation fields, you get into area of concern about people who are going to inhale or ingest radioactive particles or gases, and as you mentioned earlier in the show, the uptake and dose delivered to specific organs, for example, the thyroid, depends on your age and other individual characteristics. age is going to be an important factor. but dose is a critical factor, and dose is going to vary as a function of location and distance. >> to be clear in terms of difference in ages, it is kids who are most at risk in terms of radioactive iodine exposure? >> right. that's for several reasons. one is simply the smaller mass of the thyroid. >> are iodine pills a good preventive measure for people in japan? >> i think that they should in
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japan and united states both as you mentioned recently, i think people should follow the advice of public health authorities. if history can give us some guidance, a lot of the route of uptake after environmental releases of radio iodine is not through inhalation of the gas itself, but through pathways of the iodine accumulating and{ people taking it up later. as much as there's a focus on therapeutic prevention through taking of potassium iodine, there are other measures. simply avoiding milk consumption, or using tin milk is another option. >> david richardson, professor of epidemiologyy at university of north carolina. good to have you here. >> thank you. >> i hesitate to even ask, but you should know. do you want to know how rush limbaugh and glenn beck characterize the disaster in japan?
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suffice to say they are using the word payback. yeah. ed schultz has a few comments of his own about that at the top of the hour. you will not want to miss it. on the opposite end of the compassion index, the u.s. military delivered 17 tons of supplies to japan yesterday. the latest on how americans are providing desperately needed aid during the crisis, including some technology i did not know we had as a nation until i read about it tonight. that's coming up.
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ask me.
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there's obviously no story in the world that has the gravity of the unfolding catastrophe in japan. but there really is a ton of other important news going on in the world. a deep breath, and some of the other stories we have been following, both tonight and for the last few days. starting in libya, today we learned four journalists who work for "the new york times" have been missing since this morning. the paper reporting that according to secondhand sources, the journalists were, quote, swept up by libyan government forces." gadhafi's forces took that city back from rebels yesterday. shadid reported that it was the last defense line before the city of benghazi. mr. gadhafi's son in a series of television interviews today
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proverbially pounded his chest and predicted that all of the rebels throughout libya would be defeated within 48 hours. >> a few hours, we are there. you will see the picture there. people celebrating. everyone will come out. because they have been waiting for this for a long time. >> in bahrain, riot police and military troops attacked anti-government protesters, driving them out of their stronghold in the heart of the capital city. protesters and police were killed. unknown number of people were wounded. government forces also took over a nearby hospital. after blocking ambulances and reportedly keeping medical personnel from tending to the wounded who made it inside. here's what a doctor inside that hospital told the bbc. >> they're not allowing us to go out. they've got snipers, commandos, anti-riot police.
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and it's like we're being held hostages in the hospital. they're not allowing us to go out and the patients are not allowed to be brought in. >> the government of bahrain imposed a curfew. today's events prompting president obama to call the king of bahrain to call for restraint. mr. obama called the king of saudi arabia with the same message. earlier this week, saudi arabia sent in its own forces. to back up the current regime in bahrain. in pakistan, raymond davis, a cia contractor in jail since late january, has been released from prison and has left the country. mr. davis was accused of murdering two pakistanis in what he claims was self-defense during a robbery attempt. his arrest and those murders have prompted nationwide protests in pakistan. an american official con first to the "washington post" mr. davis was freed after the victims' families were paid. they were paid so-called blood
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money as compensation for their loss. secretary of state hillary clinton is denying that the u.s. government paid any blood money in order to get mr. davis released. domestic news, that's not japan, wisconsin republicans celebrated the one-week anniversary tonight of their victory over the rights of people who have to work for a living. they held a fund-raising at a lobbying firm. probably a fund-raising event because they need a lot of money now. eight of the republican state senators in wisconsin are fighting off strong recall drives. they were the trophy they got for stripping public employee unions to rights of collective bargaining. the lobbying firm stepping up is called bgr group. it stands for barber, mississippi govern know haley barber who used{ to work and whose son is a vice president, and the protesters outside, being a wisconsin republican, those protesters are organized with help from progressive groups like move-on.
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the wisconsin story is a bigger story all the time. what i think should probably be a way bigger national story than it is, thousands of protesters turned out in lansing, michigan, today, the capital, pushing back against governor rick snider's plan to balance that state's budget, sort of, or actually to pretend to be balancing the state's budget by giving tax breaks to corporations and instead raising taxes on the elderly and poor families with children. also by cutting off aid to towns and cities in michigan. governor snider knows that will hurt. so this afternoon he signed a truly incredible new law. it will give his administration the right to declare a town or school board to be in such dire straits that it needs taken over by a new manager, empowered to dissolve the entire local government and to dissolve all local contracts, including naturally union contracts. lastly, failed nevada senate candidate, sheryl engel, she's returned.
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mr. ensign says he's not running again. so a congressman named dean heller will be running for mr. ensign's seat in 2012. now sharon engel, she lost badly in her quest to unseat harry reid last year. she likes her chances to get to capitol hill this way. >> the 2010 election was bittersweet. there were victories, about you we still face obstacles from democrats in congress and in the white house. that's why today i'm announcing i am running for the united states congress. the effort to bring the people's voice back into government did not end in 2010. i'm sharon engel. i approve this message and i'm asking for your support. >> if the bitterness of 2010 for you was that the second amendment remedies, ladies, didn't win, do over. all you pantene 2-in-1 lovers,
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maybe you don't think you're at risk for heart attack or stroke but if you've been diagnosed with p.a.d., or have pain or heaviness in your legs, i want to talk to you. you may have heard of poor leg circulation, which could be peripheral artery disease, or p.a.d. with p.a.d., if you have poor circulation in your legs, you may also have poor circulation in your heart or in your brain, your risk for heart attack or stroke is more than doubled with p.a.d. now, ask yourself: am i at risk? if you're not sure, call for this free information kit to learn more. [ female announcer ] call the toll free number on the screen now to find out what the risks of p.a.d. really are.
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not long after the planet earth became a world with nuclear weapons, the u.s. decided it should be someone's job to detect atomic explosions. dwight d. eisenhower handed that responsibility to the army air forces on september 16th, 1947. he commissioned the constant phoenix program, with planes capable of sampling the air so it could be tested for radiation. two days later, the army air forces became its own military branch, the united states air force. today the united states air force has two of these planes based in nebraska. they detected nuclear debris from russia, investigated north korea's self-described nuclear tests and flew missions over the chernobyl disaster in 1986. you can now add to that the earthquake and tsunami in japan. the constant{ phoenix are converted boeing 707s 130 feet across with a maximum feet of over 400 miles an hour. the u.s. military has delivered